Former Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a pardon from President Trump if he agreed to help cover up Russia’s involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee, The Daily Beast reports.
Assange’s lawyers made the revelation on Wednesday. The attorneys said during a pre-extradition hearing in London that Rohrabacher offered Assange a deal in 2017.
“Mr. Rohrabacher going to see Mr. Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks,” an attorney for Assange said in a statement.
The attorneys for Assange, who faces extradition to the US where he is charged with 18 charges that could carry up to 175 years in prison, said the offer shows he should not be sent to the US because the charges against him are politically motivated.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied that Trump was involved in the offer.
"The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman," said Grisham. "He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”
Rohrabacher admits he offered pardon:
The former congressman admitted to Yahoo News that he told Assange he would get Trump to grant him a pardon in exchange for information.
Rohrabacher told Yahoo that “goal during the meeting was to find proof for a widely debunked conspiracy theory: that WikiLeaks’ real source for the DNC emails was not Russian intelligence agents, as U.S. officials have since concluded, but former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016 in what police believe was a botched robbery.”
The Republican said he discussed the pardon and then called White House chief of staff John Kelly to discuss the offer. He said he did not speak to Trump about it.
“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails I would petition the president to give him a pardon,” Rohrabacher said. “He knew I could get to the president.”